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Is the Nature of Man Trichotomous I?

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Question:   Hi, just browsing the ichthys site and found something interesting re: the "Dichotomy of Man".

I've studied and learned from my pastor, in fact trichotomus man can and does exist. In the body of every human there is 1) soul, 2) sin nature (inherited by the fall of Adam in the garden) this is dichotomus man. When a person is saved a human spirit is acquired and the believer becomes trichotomus and a permanent dwelling temple for the Holy Spirit (although in David's time the Holy Spirit left when sin was committed), to go even further once saved the Holy Spirit takes the perceived doctrine to the human spirit where it (spiritual phenomenon) is understood. From there doctrine is cycled into the right lobe or right side of the soul - that's another study though. Point being, we're all born with a sin nature and soul, only at salvation does man acquire a third element in his constitution - as it is put secondly, regarding: "purpose of man", man has been created to solve the prehistoric angelic conflict (as to justify Gods judgement for Satan and the 1/3 angels that expressed negative volition) although not actually mentioned on the web site I believe its suggested.

Please reply,


Response: Thanks for your e-mail.  As to dichotomy / trichotomy, I started out with and was taught in seminary as well the trichotomy point of view. Your justification in the e-mail is logical. However, scripture has to be the deciding factor. Over many years of diligent study of this issue, it became clear to me that "trichotomy" was a mis-reading of what the Bible actually teaches. The reasons for this are spelled out in great detail in part 3 of the Satanic Rebellion series, and I don't want to give you the impression that what is said here is in any way comprehensive. Man is a combination of the spiritual and the physical. The spiritual side (i.e., the "[human] spirit") is indeed now housed in a physical side that has a sin nature. The word "soul" is an unfortunate English translation for the Hebrew word nephesh and the Greek word psyche. It is a result of Latin influence and (to a lesser extent, secular ancient Greek) ideas. Generally speaking, wherever one bumps into the word "soul" in the Bible, the word "heart" (if the context is individual), or "person" (if the context is collective) can be substituted. This is because this supposed "third element" is really the combination of the other two - i.e., who we are "at heart" or "as persons" is the combination of our body and spirit (we are not meant ever to exist any other way). So, for example, when we think (in "our heart"), we use our spirit and our body (brain). I am reluctant to say more here - again, this is all exhaustively detailed in the study referenced above.

And now, please also see:

"The Human Spirit" in BB 3A: Anthropology

"The Dichotomy of Man in BB 3A: Anthropology

Is Man trichotomous, and does that mean that salvation is three-tiered?

Is the Soul a tertium quid?

 Hope this is of help - thanks for your interest!

Bob Luginbill


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